In Madrid 2018, world no. 3 and the 2nd seed Alexander Zverev advanced into his fourth Masters 1000 final in the previous 12 months, toppling Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 6-1 in swift 57 minutes. It was their third match and the third win for Zverev, who had the upper hand in the youngster semi-final at this Masters 1000 event that started in 2002.
The German was the dominant figure in his games, dropping nine points behind the initial shot and never facing a break point to mount all the pressure on the other side. Pushing hard on the return, Alexander grabbed almost half of the points behind Denis' initial shot and seized all four break opportunities to seal the deal in style and set the final clash against Dominic Thiem.
Both players stayed below ten winners from the court, and it was Zverev who tamed his strokes more efficiently. The German rested on 13 unforced while Shapovalov counted to 21, unable to impose his strokes or move the opponent from the comfort zone.
Denis played well to reach the semi-final after heading to Madrid with no wins in the ATP tournaments on clay. The Canadian found the rhythm on the fast surface in Caja Magica but had nothing left in the tank for Alexander, who had a massive advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
Alexander Zverev stormed over Denis Shapovalov in the 2018 Madrid semi-final.
The booming serves led the young German towards the victory, hitting a service winner in over half of the points and challenging Denis to repeat that if he wanted to stay in contention.
The youngest Masters 1000 semi-finalist on clay since Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet held at love in the opening game and stayed in touch at the beginning of the encounter, with only two points for the returners in the first four games that they completed in nine minutes.
Shapovalov held after deuce in game five to remain in front and delivered another fine hold at 3-3 to complete the first seven games in 21 minutes! Zverev closed the eighth game with another powerful serve and drew first blood a few minutes later after breaking Shapovalov at 30, securing the opener with a forehand winner in the tenth game for 6-4.
With momentum on his side, the German grabbed a break at the beginning of the second set following the Canadian's forced error and cemented the advantage with four service winners to forge a set and a break lead. A lefthander sprayed a backhand error in the third game to suffer a break at love, allowed Alexander to move 4-0 in front and propelled the German over the finish line after another loose service game at 1-5.